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Schumpeter, Joseph

Joseph Alois Schumpeter (1883–1950) was one of the most influential economists of the 20th century. Early in his life he worked in Europe, but he spent the majority of his academic career at Harvard University. He is most famous for his concept of creative destruction. He believed that some of capitalism’s greatest features, innovation and competition, might ultimately lead to major economic problems.


Schumpeter was born in Trest, Austria-Hungary (now located in the Czech Republic). His father died when he was 4 years old. His mother, a young widow, was remarried to a retired general and raised Joseph in Vienna. Schumpeter earned an advanced degree in 1906 at the University of Vienna, where he studied history, sociology, law, and the budding field of economics.

Schumpeter spent the ...

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